The Yale Law Journal


Excessive Fines and Punishments

This Collection considers the implications of the Supreme Court’s decision in Timbs v. Indiana. It discusses the emergence of an anti-ruination principle for punishment, the suitability of the Excessive Fines Clause’s “gross proportionality” standard, and the development of a forfeiture jurisprudence that would inquire into individual and familial hardship.


(Un)Constitutional Punishments: Eighth Amendment Silos, Penological Purposes, and People’s “Ruin”

Judith Resnik

Timbs v. Indiana reaffirms the Constitution's role in determining the bounds of licit punishment. This Essay weaves together doctrines that are often siloed but answer the same question: what can't governments do as punishment? I argue that the law has begun to build the principle that governments n…


A Proposal to Stop Tinkering with the Machinery of Debt

Brandon Buskey

In the wake of the Supreme Court’s 2019 decision in Timbs v. Indiana, which applied the Excessive Fines Clause to the States, this Essay argues that defendants are better protected by replacing the clause’s “gross disproportionality” standard with the more rigorous proportionality guarantee of the E…


Financial Hardship and the Excessive Fines Clause: Assessing the Severity of Property Forfeitures After Timbs

Beth A. Colgan & Nicholas M. McLean

This Essay sketches the outlines of a forfeitures jurisprudence under the Eighth Amendment’s Excessive Fines Clause in which the effect of property deprivations on individuals and their families—in particular, the infliction of financial hardship—is a core criterion in assessing a forfeiture’s sever…